Parenting Matters of El Paso County wants to connect you, the parent or guardian of a young child (prenatal to 8), with community resources, fun activities, and child development details. This month features:
BE Ready – BE Cool – BE a Communicator
Many activities we plan for family fun can turn out to be family disappointment. While I sincerely hope that your 4th of July was filled with treasured memories, perhaps you too can relate to this mom’s parade disaster.
With temperatures just over 90 degrees, no shade, and a delayed parade start, I watched as this young mother of two desperately tried to keep her 2-year-old son entertained. Not wanting to be restrained in his stroller, he squirmed and cried until his mom set him free. With this freedom, he immediately ran into the street. Mom was right behind him and wrestled him back to the grass. Balloons from a vendor appeared and temporary joy followed. However, helium balloons have one purpose – to float UP! The toddler immediately let go of the first balloon and tears ensued as the red oval floated into the atmosphere. This scene repeated two more times before big sister claimed the final red balloon and insisted her brother was NOT to touch it. Once the parade started, mom tussled the sweaty, crying boy back into his stroller with a bribe of candy and pushed him into the shade of a nearby tree for respite.
I too remember those days. A parade! Who wouldn’t enjoy sitting on the grass as the floats roll by? Um, maybe a toddler…sitting, sweating, with nothing to do but watch as his new balloon escapes into the unknown? If you can relate to this story, take comfort. This too shall pass. But in the meantime, don’t let the parade pass you by. Remember, children don’t think like adults. Have plenty of distractions on hand to keep little ones busy as you expose them to new experiences that someday they may treasure. Keep water, books, an umbrella for shade, bubbles, healthy non-sugary snacks, and a positive attitude on hand to keep your expectations in line with their abilities. And if you run out of ideas or need some help, check out these calm-down strategies!
With the warmest days of summer still ahead, be sure to continue your fun in the sun by applying sunscreen, wearing hats, sitting in the shade, and drinking plenty of water! The safest times are before 10 am and after 2 pm. Parents with infants will want to check out these cool tips and parents of toddlers may benefit too!
BE a Communicator
Communicating with young children is one of the most difficult parts of daily parenting. As adults we are experienced communicators and can rely on our vast vocabulary and critical thinking skills. Young children do not think abstractly and are not always able to put their thoughts and needs into words. When you ask a young child to “clean up” their toys, your idea of cleaning up and theirs could be vastly different. Instead, try giving clear and specific instructions such as “pick up the red truck and put it in your toy box.” While this may take longer if the living room is a mess, it’s an opportunity to share vocabulary, model, and have fun teaching your child what cleaning up means in your family. Want to dig deeper into positive ways to talk and listen with your child? Click here.
Next Month: On August 12th, look for the Parenting Matters Booth at the Hillside Community Center CommUnity Day. Have some free fun and drop by to say hi! BE on the lookout for our next edition of The Buzz to fly into your inbox in August. Who knows what it will BE about!?